The cripfic website

What is cripfic?

Cripfic is a term I have coined. It refers to fiction about disabled people that does not aim to be "inspiring", but to depict disabled people as real, humane, three-dimensional characters with hopes, dreams and flaws similar to able-bodied characters. Disability may or may not be central to the story, even though it plays a significant part. The concept is explained in more detail in my Cripfic Manifesto, published in Breath & Shadow.

Note that this page is very much a work in progress at the moment and as such many of the lists are very short. You can email me additions (or corrections). I have also included here links to stories and book about subjects many people do not consider disabilities, such as autism or deafness, but still many people with those conditions do.

My own books

I have written a cripfic trilogy called Ilmestykset (Revelations). It is being published in Finnish, but I hope to be able to acquire an international publisher. (If you have any leads, please email me!)

Marian ilmestyskirja (10/2011) (more information in English)
Main character has CFS/ME or chronic Lyme, also features characters with Guillain-Barré (wheelchair user), psoriatic arthritis, depression, alcoholism, anorexia nervosa. Otherness is the main theme, also discusses healthcare, accessibility, medical sexism, disabled sexuality etc. I have also adapted this novel into a play, and if all goes well, it looks like it might make its way to the stage in 2013 or 2014.

Makuuhaavoja (10/2012) (more information in English)
Main character has CFS/ME and is bedridden. He suffers from severe hyperacusis which is central to the story. An autistic child as a minor character.

Häpeämätön (no publisher yet, hopefully out in 2013)
Main character's artist girlfriend has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and during the course of the novel becomes a wheelchair user. Also features a character with BIID. Deals with disabled sexuality, accessibility, chronic pain, frustration, social justice.

Cripfic novels I have read and can recommend

Nasim Marie Jafry: The State of ME (autobiographical novel/CFS/ME)
Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon (scifi classic/mental handicap)
W. Somerset Maugham: Of Human Bondage (general fiction classic/clubfoot)
Lionel Shriver: So Much For That (general fiction/cancer, familial dysautonomia)
Dalton Trumbo: Johnny Got His Gun (general fiction/severe complex injuries)
Douglas Coupland: Eleanor Rigby (general fiction/multiple sclerosis, CFS/ME)

Novels I've heard recommended, but haven't read

In English

Peggy Munson: Origami Striptease (general fiction(?)/CFS/ME(?))
Roger King: Love and Fatigue in America (autobiographical novel/CFS/ME)
Terry Tracy: A Great Place for a Seizure (autobiographical novel/epilepsy)
Simmone Howell: Everything Beautiful (young adult/wheelchair)
Edward Bloor: Tangerine (young adult/blind)
Connie Brockway: As You Desire (romance/dyslexia)
Christie Walker Bos: The Write Man for Her (romance/paraplegic)
Laura Kinsale: Flowers from the Storm (romance/stroke)
Catherine Gilbert Murdock: The Off Season (young adult/SCI)
Kathryn Erskine: Mockingbird (young adult/Asperger's)
Lois Lowry: Gathering Blue (young adult scifi/physical disability)
Robert J. Sawyer: Wake (scifi/blind)
Robert Rudney: :Lovers Lame (romance/paralysis, MS)

In Finnish

Eeva Kilpi: Tamara (erotic fiction/paralysis) also available in English under the same title, but may be difficult to find
Heidi Köngäs: Vieras mies (erotic fiction/"cripple")

Devotee literature

Devotees or just devos are people who are aroused by people with disabilities (especially physical disabilities, such as the blind, deaf, amputees and wheelchair users). Several novels and short story compilations have been published on the subject, most of them by self-published or by small publishers.

The most notable author in the genre is probably Ruth Madison. I haven't read any of her books (or any other devotee) fiction so I can't say whether they could be considered cripfic.

Lists of disability-themed novels

Fiction Titles Dealing with Illness
Autism-Asperger Syndrome Titles
Romantic disabilities
"Imperfect" heroes in romance
Books for kids
Books for preteens
Books for teens
Celebrating all of us: inclusive children's books
Books for Kids available at the Center for Disability Resources Library
Children's Books About Disabilities
Daily Dose of Reading: Facing Physical Challenges
Crime Fiction Book List: Disabled isn't Unable (mostly blind/paralysed/wheelchair/amputee/synethesia, two Tourettes)
LibraryThing People with disabilities > Fiction
YA Fiction Book list
Goodreads Genres > Disability
Deaf characters in Fiction
Fiction about People with Disabilities

Cripfic short stories

Timeless (my own; scifi/blind)
Flicker (my own; horror/CFS/ME)
Night Vaulting by Camille Alexa (speculative/SCI)
Some Theories on Time Travel by Nathan Tavares (scifi/deaf)
Updates Available by Ryan Leeds (scifi/autism)
Andante by Joe Pitkin (scifi/autism)
Silver Veins by Michele Lee (scifi/autism)
Lunar Voices (On the Solar Wind) by Nick Wood (winner of the Accessible Futures scifi contest)
Several cripfic stories by Alexander Brecha (mostly involving characters with MS or SCI, but also other disablities), also available as a print book
Sleep Walker by Carla René (humor/lupus)
The Bracelet by Geoffrey Porter (scifi/diabetes)
By a leg by D.I.Telbat (general fiction/amputee)
Bull Rider by Deborah Sheldon (general fiction/osteoporosis)
Dear One by Kathleen O'Connor (general fiction/hip malformation)
Legislative Awareness Day by Erika Jahneke (general fiction/autism)
Hello Goodbye by Mark Cornell (general fiction/autism(?), schizophrenia)
Relapse by Ilana Jacqueline (general fiction/anxiety)
Canary by Dorothy Baker (general fiction/MCS)

Blogs and blog posts about the subject

Patricia Morrissey blogs about writing disabled characters
Elspeth Cooper on Disability in Fantasy
Two Series Authors Weigh In On A Hot Trend In Romance

Cripfic publishers

Publishers who may be more keen to pick up a disability-themed novel. Some of this information comes from other websites.

Candlemark & Gleam (speculative fiction only)
The Advocado Press
Brookline Books
Brookes Publishing
Inclusion Press
Vandamere Press
Human Policy Press
Woodbine House
Scarletta Press
Tristan Publishing
Graywolf Press
Diverse City Press
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Milkweed Editions
Coffee House Press

Literary journals and magazines

Kaleidoscope
Breath & Shadow (only accepts fiction from disabled people)
Expanded Horizons (only speculative fiction and quite strict criteria)
The Examined Life
The Healing Muse

See also Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies which does not publish actual fiction, but academical papers about disability in the literature.